It was quite the night for a show of this caliber in
Pittsburgh. The full moon coupled with the random Cinco de Mayo and Pirate celebrations
just added to the feel of mayhem. Surprisingly, though, parking wasn’t
impossible since all of the lots were open from PNC park to the Science Center.
Doors at 6:30 meant that make-up encrusted/fishnet adorned fans in black lined
up outside starting at five or earlier to ensure that they got as close as
possible to the stage. Manson prefers to
be near to the crowd to interact, so for this particular show the normal
horseshoe security perimeter wasn’t there and the middle area allowed for
closer fan positioning.
The “Pretty Reckless”
opened for Manson as they are doing for the North American leg of 2012’s Hey Cruel
World Tour. This alternative rock band hails from New York and is fronted by a
long blonde haired teen female, Taylor Momsen. Her angst driven lyrics and
sweet, yet intense vocals were a cohesive fit for the show, getting the crowd
warmed up for the first Manson performance in Pittsburgh since 2009’s Mayhem
Opening with Hey Cruel World brought a resounding cheer from the crowd, recognizing the song from the newly released 8th
album Born Villain and the title song of this tour. Right behind
followed some old school Manson energy (causing the pit to erupt), with
two songs from the 4th
album; Disposable Teens and The Love Song.
Although the costuming and makeup of
Manson and Twiggy were reminiscent of the 90’s tours, the stage show itself was
less than impressive considering the usual shock factor associated with Manson.
There was no back drop to speak of, cloth, screen, or otherwise and no props were
used aside from smoke machine type gun; making it much less of a stage
performance than the normal Manson fan is accustomed to.
Manson holds the smoking gun, who knew? Image courtesy of Coda Photography
The show continued with mostly a mix of the new with No
Reflection, the first single release off of Born Villain and songs from the 2nd
and 3rd albums (Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals) with
Mobscene from the 5th release (The Golden Age of Grotesque) thrown
in for good measure. Fan favorite covers were played, including Personal Jesus
(Depeche Mode) and Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics) which made the fans dance and pump
The performance reached its crescendo with Antichrist Superstar and
The Beautiful People, although the mass was clearly not ready for this night to
be over. It seemed as if finishing off the night with those iconic Manson tunes
from the heyday left them wanting even more. The crowd did not dissipate, even
after the lights came on.
During this time, I actually made my way to the core of the crowd, slithering
through the sardine packed patrons to get a better up close look of what was
going on. People were shoulder to shoulder and at one point, I could get no
further. I stayed and enjoyed Rock is Dead and Personal Jesus before fighting
my way back out to get air.
Security was very tight around the stage, this being
the first tour that Manson actually allowed photos, but only for the first
three songs. The overall experience was a pleasant and memorable one and the
sound was great, but the ‘what’s Manson going to do next’ factor was clearly
missing. Perhaps this is a sign that the music is evolving into less of a
performance piece and into the musical realm of an older, more mature artist.